Going Back to Falassarna: Our last trip to Falasarna was about two years ago but the idea of visiting again never abandoned me.
Falasarna lies on the western coast of Crete and some people classify the beaches of the bay as among the most beautiful in the world. I have no idea if that’s going a bit too far, what I do know is that the magic of its sunsets is unique. The atmosphere of the village is lonely and relaxed. The background of the harsh Cretan mountains make it all incredibly beautiful.
As you approach the bay, going down the road that leads to the coast, the shades of the sea go from deep dark navy to the most stunning turquoise. Visitors dot the side of the road admiring the landscape from dawn to sunset.
There are just a few places to stay, not many restaurants, one supermarket and no nightlife at all. Apart from a water sports and beach life, the choice of activities is Spartan. You can spend the morning getting lost among the olive groves or hike incredible mountain trails. Either way is a recipe to discover unexpected sea view.
Falasarna is not just a place to stay when visiting the near Balos Beach. The village is second to none as far as incredible landscapes; many visitors stay late on the beach waiting for one of the most fabulous sunsets in Crete.
Where to stay
Forget about sophisticated lifestyle of touristic resorts in Falasarna. The magic of the place requires you to choose simplicity. Closeness to nature and no frills are a must. Add to that the authentic character of the villagers: few words but well spent and utter hospitality. Our place of choice is a quiet angle almost at the end of the (only) road.
Petalida is a family run hotel with incredible views of the sea and the mountains. When I wake up in the morning I only need to step on my balcony to see the bluest Aegean if I look to the left. Soon after, goats and sheep walk under the first sun rays with the mountains at their back on the opposite side. Waking up this way makes the difference.
Down on the terrace there’s a choice of hot bread, pastries and juice for breakfast. There’s also coffee for all tastes (Italian, Greek, American), cakes and local honey… All these facing the sea from a high panoramic patio with plants and a delicate sea breeze. It’s hard to leave in the morning even when you know the beach is waiting.
Fotis, his parents, and his brothers will be waiting for you with the warmest Cretan smile and always available to cater for any need. The best way to get in touch with to book a room is directly through their website. They will reply to your e-mails and answer any question in no time. Be sure they’ll be happy to welcome you in Falasarna.
Where to eat
It’s no secret I am a big fan of Greek food, Cretan raki and Hellenic hospitality. The place where I’ve learnt the most about it all is Crete, specially Falasarna. My return proved me right. After two years I was welcomed as an old friend, with a hug, smiles and the (always unchanged) most incredible home-made dishes I have ever tasted in my life.
Now, I’ve reviewed dozens of restaurants and I do not intend to diminish any of them. Specially in Greece, the culture of welcoming guest is so rooted in the heart of the nation that it’s quite hard not to find a wonderful place to eat. Taverna Spilios is this and more. They combine that perfection in food with extreme care for customers, attention for kids, joy and a special extra something that is so hard to explain in a review and so easy to see from the looks of those who are receiving you.
Elena is as nice as always, and she might never know, but she gave me the biggest present when she came to me saying… “The Tiny Book…?!!” And then, there’s Michalis, who speaks little English but understanding his kindness, his jokes in Greek and his passion makes it clear he’s happy to be there. That will make you happy in return. And you will understand it all. His is a universal language.
It was two years since I wanted to return, going back made me incredibly happy.
What to do
A visit to the Ancient City of Phalassarna
This ancient settlement was a major trading and important naval center, the only closed harbor in west Crete, built taking advantage of the local lagoon with a channel that connected it to the sea making it particularly safe. The city flourished during the 4th and 3rd centuries B.C.
An area inhabited since the early Minoan period with an ideal position and a direct connection with the Egyptian city of Alexandria. Two reasons that made its prosperity possible. One of the activities that helped the economic rise of Falasarna was piracy, which made Romans invade and destroy the city in the 69 B.C.
The real reason for the decline of Falasarna was, however, the great earthquake of 365 A.D. Its most important result implied the elevation of the west cost of Crete by about 6,6 meters. This is the real reason making the ruins of Ancient Falasarna extremely interesting: the harbor of the old city now lies more than a hundred meters from the sea!
Finding Ancient Falasarna: follow the main road of the village until it’s very end, a little church, Agios Georgios, on the slope of the mountains, will be helpful to spot the area near the entrance. (Mondays closed. Entrance: free, donations accepted).
A few meters before the entrance it is also possible to visit the Throne of Falasarna, probably a podium used for public speeches.
Archaeological Museum of Kissamos
This museum comes in handy for a better understanding of the ruins of Falasarna. It’s a good idea to combine both visits on the same morning as they are not more than a few kilometers away from each other.
The museum is in a Venetian-Turkish building in the Venetian area of Kissamos. It shows the history of the district of Kissamos, from the Prehistoric period through the Early Christianity. Even if you are not fond of museums, this one is easy to visit and appreciate, reasonably didactic for children and quite small too.
The ground floor presents artifacts belonging to different cities of Crete (Polyrrhenia, Ancient Phalassarna, Drapanias), while the upper floor is devoted to Kissamos, mostly during the Roman period, overshadowed by the Minoan era.
There are unique mosaic floors belonging to important urban villas. The biggest of them depicts an allegory of Dionysus, but there is a smallest one, incredibly well-preserved, with a unique combination of the four seasons with three female figures representing Summer, Winter and Spring. The collection of coins and jewelry is an impressive snapshot of the economic importance of the area.
If you are traveling to Falasarna and want to live a great experience, get in touch:
Petalida rooms and studios: +30 6945 027066
Taverna Spilios: +30 28220 41010
Archaeological site of Ancient Phalassarna: +30 28210 44418
Archaeological Museum of Kissamos: +30 28220 83308
Disclosure: I was not compensated for this post. All opinions are my own and not influenced in any way.